Saturday, May 17, 2014

Week(s) in review: 3 – 16 May, 2014

       CMBO is pleased to provide weekly summaries of the Cape's birding highlights. Coverage is limited to sightings in Cape May County. Readers should keep in mind that some reports may not be confirmed. The vast majority of information utilized in these reports comes from eBird data and "Keekeekerr" text alerts. Observers are encouraged to send reports and photos to compiler Tom Reed (coturnicops at gmail dot com).

Location Abbreviations: CMP (town of Cape May Point), CMPSP (Cape May Pt. State Park), SCMM (South Cape May Meadows).

       Most lingering waterfowl finally pulled out of the area during the last two weeks. Determining "last dates" can be a difficult task, but the following is the most complete information available. Northern Shoveler was last reported at SCMM 4 May, Eurasian Wigeon at CMPSP 7 May (very late), and Ameican Wigeon at CMP 11 May (m. ob.). Blue-winged Teal was last noted at Cove Pool 12 May, while Green-winged Teal was last seen at SCMM 16 May (m. ob.). As for diving ducks, Ring-necked Duck put in its final appearance at CMP 4 May, while all three scoter species could still be found at CMP 16 May (m. ob.), along with 100s of Black Scoters still present in Delaware Bay north to Reed's Beach. Bufflehead was last reported from the Jarvis Sound area 6 May (VE), Long-tailed Duck remained at Jarvis Sound through 12 May, and small numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers can still be found in the Atlantic back-bays and along the Delaware Bay (m. ob.). A rather late Common Goldeneye was observed offshore CMP 10 May, and a random Common Eider appeared there the same day (m. ob.). A Red-necked Grebe stayed put at Champlain Drive, Villas through at least 15 May (m. ob.). A late imm. Great Cormorant stopped at Reed's Beach 7 May (TR, JM). Least Bittern is an increasingly scarce spring migrant on Cape Island-- one was at CMPSP 6 May (VE). An additional two were heard along Tyler Road, a traditional breeding location, 10 May (TR et al.). Multiple Cattle Egrets continued to be seen along Route 9 in Swainton throughout the period (m. ob.). 

       The season's first Mississippi Kite, an adult, was seen over the Beanery 8 May (TR, KK, JM). A minimum of 10 were tallied over West Cape May 11 May, and these were also briefly joined by a Swallow-tailed Kite (m. ob.). The same or another Swallow-tailed Kite was seen over CMP 12 May (RB). Northern Harriers have been a regular sight at Jake's Landing (m. ob.). As many as 75 Broad-winged Hawks were seen over CMP 6 May, a strong spring total (m. ob.). King Rails were heard along Tyler Road on multiple nights (m. ob.). Difficult to find in spring, a Common Gallinule made for a fun discovery at Cox Hall Creek WMA 11 May (TM). One of Cape May birders' most desired springtime birds, a Black-necked Stilt explored the ponds at CMPSP and SCMM 15 May (m. ob.). Nummy Island hosted a Marbled Godwit 4 May (BQ, NS). Numbers of "beach-pipers" increased along Delaware Bay through the period. White-rumped and Stilt Sandpipers were seen on multiple days at SCMM and Cove Pool, most recently on 16 May (m. ob.). The "rips" offshore CMP continued to hold multiple Parasitic Jaegers. Royal Tern was seen on several dates, and Gull-billed Terns have been regular at Beaver Swamp WMA (m. ob.). A Black Tern was seen from CMP 12 May (GD), and a Roseate Tern made a brief appearance on the beach at CMPSP 16 May (TR et al.). 

       CMP's last remaining Eurasian Collared-Dove was still present as of 10 May (m. ob.). A, or the, Pileated Woodpecker was seen at CMPSP 9 May (MP). A tardy Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was well-photographed at CMP 9 May (MC et al.). An exciting find was the Crested Caracara over the Beanery/Rea Farm 4 May (Brian McMahon). It was seen again 5 May (m. ob.). Out-of-range Caracaras were also noted in Wisconsin and Virginia during the period. CMP's Black-capped Chickadee remained through the period (m. ob.). A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher made an all-too-brief appearance on the beach at CMPSP 14 May (MG et al.). It was last seen flying high to the northwest. A Bicknell's Thrush played hide-and-seek with birders at the Higbee Beach WMA parking lot 11–15 May (DF, m. ob.). Orange-crowned Warbler is a rare spring migrant, therefore one at CMP 9 May was noteworthy (TJ). Rare in general, a Cerulean Warbler was also a highlight at CMP 5–6 May (m. ob.). A Grasshopper Sparrow was at the Beanery/Rea Farm 7 May (MP). A singing Clay-colored Sparrow was out of place at Higbee Beach WMA 12 May (HT, m. ob.). Higbee also played host to a bizarre Yellow-headed Blackbird 9 May (MC, m. ob.). Late Purple Finches were detected at CMP 9 May (m. ob.) and at WCM 11 May (MO'B). 

Robert Bowker (RB), Mike Crewe (MC), Glen Davis (GD), Vince Elia (VE), Don Freiday (DF), Mark Garland (MG), Tom Johnson (TJ), Kevin Karlson (KK), Brian McMahon (BM), Tom McParland (TM), Jonathan Meyrav (JM), Michael O'Brien (MO'B), Mike Pasquarello (MP), Brian Quindlen (BQ), Tom Reed (TR), Nathaniel Sharp (NS), Harvey Tomlinson (HT).


eBird. 2012. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Accessed 2 May 2014. Available:
Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Accessed 2 May 2014. Available: